2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature Review

The compact crossover CX-5 is Mazda's best-selling vehicle in North America. I reviewed the 2018 GT model last year and loved the CX-5 for its handsome exterior, surprisingly upscale interior, and fun to drive nature. One thing I wished the 2018 model would have was an option for a bigger, more responsive engine.

The good folks at Mazda must have recognized the same thing, and the 2019 CX-5 now comes with a 2.5L turbocharged engine for both the GT and the Signature Trim. The new Signature trim adapts a even higher quality interior for a truly premium feel. Thanks to Mazda Canada, I was loaned that exact car for a week to write this review.

The exterior of the 2019 CX-5 remains largely the same as last year's model, and it is a good thing. It is an amazing looking car for the price, and the exterior design stands the test of time. The Signature trim comes with power-folding door mirrors and a new 19|-inch alloy wheel design that makes the CX-5 look classier than before.

With a few material and design changes, Mazda manages to make the CX-5 look truly upscale inside. The new Caturra Brown Nappa leather-trimmed seats are as comfortable as good looking. The front seats are both heated and vented, and the heated rear seats are optional.

The use of genuine layered wood trims with stain chrome accents makes the interior of the CX-5 feel like an European car. The Signature trim receives an auto-dimming rearview mirror that features a frameless design and integrated Homelink buttons to control your garage doors.

While many competitors in the same price range are stepping up their interior design efforts, Mazda manages to deliver something one level above. Without looking at the badge, one would have to be convinced that he/she is not in a luxury European SUV.

Finally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto become standard in the CX-5. Mazda chooses to only allow the user to control them through the rotary dial centered control panel. While it is easy enough to operate, I would prefer the option of using the 7" touchscreen display as well. I understand Mazda is trying to prevent distractions by forcing the driver to use the easy to reach dials and buttons, but sometimes a passenger can finish that task much safer and faster with the touchscreen.

The reconfigurable 7" display also shows a new 360° View Monitor with front and rear parking sensors. The active heads-up display in our Signature Trim tester looks sophisticated, and the new traffic sign recognition system is spot on most of the time.

Safety and Driver Assistance
The 2019 Mazda CX-5 is rated IIHS Top Safety Pick+, as well as 5 star safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars).

All CX-5 trims come standard with:

  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Automatic emergency braking. 

Touring models and up also get:

  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Automatic high beams
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Stop-and-go adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic brake assist

Basically, you get all the latest safety technologies at a very affordable price.

This is where the 2019 CX-5 receives the most updates. Both the GT and Signature trim come with the new turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5L Turbocharged engine that produces 310 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, and 250hp of power at 5,000 rpm with premium fuel (227 horsepower with 87 Octane). It is the same engine that powers the CX-9 and the Mazda 6 sedan.

All the other trims still come with the original 2.5L naturally aspirated SKYACTIVE-G engine. This engine now has a cylinder-deactivation system to help with fuel economy on the highway. The new turbocharged engine makes the CX-5 feel much more lively on twisty mountain roads and on the highways.

To make the car handle even better with the more powerful engine, the new G-Vectoring Control Plus is standard across all trim levels. In the original version of the G-Vectoring Control, Mazda modulates the engine output to give the front wheels extra grip entering corners. With the G-Vectoring Control Plus, Mazda also utilizes the brakes on the outside wheels to help straightening the car exiting corners. On top of that, the 2019 CX-5 receives a re-tuned suspension system for a smoother, and more linear ride.

I must admit, what I noticed the most in our Signature Trim tester is the extra power that comes with the new turbocharged engine, especially at low engine RPM. The extra power also only cost about 10.8L/100km of fuel in the city and 8.7L/100km highway (AWD). A mere 1L/100km increase from the 2.5L naturally aspirated engine with Cylinder Deactivation.

Cargo Space & Storage
The cargo space remains the same as the 2018 model. There is 875L of cargo space behind the 2nd row seats and 1687L of cargo space with the rear seats folded. It is still on the smaller side compare to some of its competitors, but remains practical for day to day usage.

The Mazda CX-5 stood out in a very competitive segment as a handsome, fun to drive compact SUV. The new turbocharged 2.5L engine option cements its place as the sportiest among the rest, and the new Signature Trim gives the CX-5 the most premium interior in the segment. Unless you absolutely need more cargo space or rear cabin room, the 2019 Mazda CX-5 should be on the top of your buying list.

Test Vehicle
2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature
$42,970 All In


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